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The Ancient Hebrew Scroll Project is on the move

Ancient Hebrew Scrolls Project
 
Beginning Friday, September 7th, the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton is traveling to churches and messianic congregations in Northern Illinois with the Ancient Hebrew Scroll Project, a collection of 40 Biblical Hebrew manuscripts.
 
If you live near Moline, West Chicago, Deerfield, Skokie or Freeport, Illinois... look for the event near you on our September calendar:
 
Biblical Hebrew manuscripts are the Holy Scripture--received, recorded, and preserved by the Jewish people. They have been carefully copied from the originals throughout the millennia. These Ancient Hebrew Scrolls make up the only complete set of the TANAKH (Hebrew Scriptures, or what some refer to as the Old Testament) that is available for the public to see.  
 

The TANAKH: 

Hebrew Scriptures are referred to as the Tanakh. (To others these are divided into the 39 books of the Old Testament.) The Tanakh is an acronym that stands for Torah (instruction), Neviim (prophets), and Ketuvim (writings). The Ancient Hebrew Scroll Project has all 16 scrolls that make up the Tanakh
 
Scrolls in the display are unique, and most of them are 250 years old or older. These ancient scrolls were written in countries all over the world: Israel, Poland, Iraq, Morocco, and Russia, to name a few. However, each scroll at different times and in its own history made its way to Jerusalem and from there was discovered and purchased by this project. Each scroll has a look and a story of its own. Six of the scrolls in the collection were commissioned by this project to be written in Jerusalem by a scribe (sofer) when a worldwide search failed to discover those needed to complete the set. The exhibit includes duplicates of some scrolls making this a collection of 40 scrolls.  
 
Ancient Hebrew Scroll Project      
 
 

David Pileggi: Anti-Semitism, the State of Israel and the Gospel

Rev. David Pileggi, pastor of CMJ’s Christ Church Jerusalem, recently shared on today’s critical issue of anti-Semitism at The Center for Judaic-Christian Studies in Dayton, Ohio.Image of David Pileggi in the library of Christ Church
 
We present here the first of a series of three talks by David. To listen to the entire series, please contact JCStudies at their website: www.jcstudies.com. The complete set, "Anti-Semitism, the State of Israel and the Gospel," is there for purchase.
 

Prince William's Visit to Israel

 
Since Israel was declared a State on May 14, 1948, there has been no official visit by a member of the British Royal family. Prince William, second in line to the British throne, will break that record of over seventy years when he becomes the first of the Royals to make an official visit to Israel in the summer of 2018. Israel had been under a British Mandate from the end of World War I until Israel became a state.
 
What most people do not know is that Prince William’s great grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, is buried on the Mount of Olives – and hid Jews in her palace in Greece during the Second World War and is thus honored as one of “The Righteous Among The Nations” at Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.
 
This story was updated recently in jewsnews.co.il and appeared there first on December 2016.
 
 

 

Prince William will become the first member of the UK Royal Family to make an official visit to Israel. Other British royals have made a small number of private visits, but did you know that William has a direct family connection to Jerusalem?

On the Mount of Olives, above the Garden of Gethsemane, lies the picturesque Church of St Mary Magdalene. There, Princess Alice of Battenberg, the paternal grandmother of Prince Charles is buried.
 
Princess Alice was an extraordinary woman. She was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, the mother of Prince Philip (the Queen’s husband) and was born at Windsor Castle in 1885.
 
Congenitally deaf, she nevertheless learned to speak English and German. She led a difficult life, in and out of exile from Greece, after marrying Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903 and becoming Princess of Greece.
 
During World War II she lived in Athens and had sons-in-law who were fighting on the German side while her own son was in the British Royal Navy fighting the Nazis. During the Nazi occupation of Athens, the German’s assumed that she was pro-German, and on visiting her a general asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” She replied, “You can take your troops out of my country”.
 
In 1943, Athens was home to around 75,000 Jews. Of these, around 60,000 were deported to Nazi concentration camps, where all but 2,000 died. During this period Princess Alice hid Jewish widow Rachel Cohen and two of her five children in her home. Rachel’s husband, Haimaki Cohen had aided King George I of Greece in 1913. In return, King George offered him any service he could per-form, should Cohen ever need it. Cohen’s son remembered this during the Nazi threat and appealed to Princess Alice. She honoured the promise and saved the Cohen family.
 
When Athens was liberated in October 1944, Princess Alice insisted on walking the streets to distribute rations to policemen and children in contravention of the curfew order. When told she could be shot and killed, she replied, “They tell me that you don’t hear the shot that kills you. And in any case I am deaf. So why worry about that?”
 
Princess Alice died at Windsor Castle in 1969, and her remains lay at first in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. But her final wish was to be buried at the Russian Orthodox Convent on the Mount of Olives, near her aunt Elizabeth, the Grand Duchess of Russia, who was murdered by the Bolsheviks and declared a Russian Orthodox saint. Her remains were transferred there in 1988.
 
Princess Alice was recognised by Yad Vashem as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.” And in 1994, her son Prince Philip attended a ceremony in Jerusalem to commemorate his mother’s life. Whilst there he met with members of the Cohen family whom his mother had hid for 13 months during the war.
 

The Story of Modern Hebrew, March 2018

by Dr. Theresa Newell, CMJ USA Board Member
 
Today we take for granted that Hebrew is the spoken language of Israel. In fact the many people groups which have emigrated from many countries of the world into Israel since about 1880 have represented almost 100 different languages! Ulpan is the name of the language training course that all new immigrants (known as olim) are given soon after they enter Israel. 
 
While the vocabulary of biblical Hebrew is composed of about 9,000 words, modern spoken Hebrew dictionaries will show approximately 75,000 words! This is the difference of a language moving from a static text to a language for everyday use. 
 
How was a language which had been reserved for synagogue worship and prayer for almost 2,000 years revived into a living language of the homeland for the Jewish people? 
 
Eliezer Ben Yehuda
 
Eliezer Ben-YehudaIt all started with a man who took the Hebrew name Eliezer Ben Yehuda. He was born in 1858 in the small town of Lushki in the province of Vilna, Lithuania. From the age of three, he had a traditional Jewish training in Hebrew. Knowing that due to Russian discrimination against Jews he would not be admitted into university in Russia, he attended the University of Paris where he studied medicine in 1879.
 
There existed at the time a Hebrew monthly periodical in Europe titled Hashahar (The Dawn). Ben Yehuda was aware of the homelessness of the Jews and quickly became a follower of the developing movement which soon became known as the Zionist movement. He presented the then novel idea that not only did the Jews need to be re-settled in their ancient homeland but that Hebrew should be revived as the spoken language of the new state!
 
Due to ill health, Ben Yehuda was not able to go directly to Palestine, but he continued to publish articles in the Hebrew weekly Havazelet which was published in Jerusalem. In 1881 he was invited to become the paper’s assistant editor, a post he happily accepted. He married Dvora Jonas who shared his enthusiasm for the language and on their arrival in Jerusalem organized a group dedicated to speaking Hebrew as their exclusive language. He and Dvora’s children were among the first to speak Hebrew as their mother tongue.
 
It was not without trials that Ben Yehuda’s work was done. It took years of persistent labor to convince skeptics that Hebrew should be the national language of the developing Jewish entity in the Middle East. He was attacked by religious factions in Jerusalem who opposed the secular use of the “sacred language.” He was even jailed on occasion for his work. In spite of the persecution from both religious and Ottoman overlords, Ben Yehuda worked tirelessly adding new words to what ultimately became a multi-volume dictionary of Modern Hebrew. While it has been added to as new words in technology came into play, the Ben Yehuda Dictionary is still the standard in use today.
 
Ben Yehuda lived to see the acceptance of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 naming Palestine as a national homeland for the Jews. Always in poor health, he died in 1922. But his prophetic work lived on and became the official national language of the new State of Israel.
 
You can read the details of Ben Yehuda’s life in the biography by Robert St. John, titled Tongue of the Prophets: The Life Story of Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
 
The Holy Tongue
 
What was the basis for opposition by religious Jews of Ben Yehuda’s day to the secular use of Hebrew, that is, as the language of the people of Israel in daily life? For example, the rabbis asked, “Could you go to the market and order tomatoes in the holy language without desecrating it?”
 
The religious taught that Hebrew is one of the most ancient of languages — so ancient that Jewish literature describes the creation of the earth using this language.
 
In a biblical commentary it is written: “Just as the Torah was given in lashon ha-kodesh [the holy tongue], so the world was created with lashon ha-kodesh” (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 31:8).
 
Calling Hebrew the “holy language,” it seemed impossible to take these words and use them in every day life at the same time that one used it in reading Torah or praying the Psalms from the Siddur (prayer book). 
 
There is a small number of ultra-Orthodox Jews who refuse to speak Hebrew. This group believes that Israel is not to be constituted as a governmental entity until the Messiah comes. Therefore, they continue to speak Yiddish or some other language even though some of them live in Israel.
 
Language as a Political Weapon
 
At the same time, while Palestine was under Ottoman rule until the end of World War I, Ben Yehuda’s idea of making Hebrew a national language for the Jews who were immigrating into the land was seen as subversive and even treasonous—the beginning of a “state within the state” and the formation of a unity that could bring trouble to the reigning Turkish government. 
 
Several times during this era Ben Yehuda was jailed for his efforts to create what became Modern Hebrew. He suffered for his efforts on both fronts. His efforts yielded the fruit that we see today in a Hebrew-speaking Israel. A debt of gratitude must go to his memory. 
 
Credits:
1.  Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, 1905 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
2.  Signage in English and Hebrew in tunnel under the Western Wall [Annette Niles, January 2017].
3.  Western Wall signage [Annette Niles, January 2017].
 

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Christ Church Jerusalem, December 5, 2017 
 
It has been a long time since we have sent out a prayer alert, but tensions between Iran and Israel are escalating and have every chance of breaking out into war.
 
For some time Israel has been expressing alarm at Iran’s growing (and permanent) military presence in Syria.  Iran is busy establishing numerous military bases and also wants to build a naval base in northern Syria.  Its goal is to create a Shi’ite arc that stretches from Tehran to Beirut.   Israel and also Sunni nations (led by Saudi Arabia) are in trepidation of Iran’s expanding influence.  It should be remembered that Israel’s cause for concern is even greater than the Arab states.  Since 1980 one Iranian Shi’ite cleric after another has been threatening to destroy Israel and annihilate its Jewish population.     
 
Over the weekend Israel bombed an Iranian army base south of Damascus, killing 12 soldiers.  Iran has made no comment, but they are expected to respond by launching a terrorist attack against Israel or a Jewish target abroad.  In addition the Iranians are continuing to arm Hezbollah with large numbers of sophisticated rockets able to reach almost every Israeli city.  Should war break out in Syria, it would no doubt spread to Lebanon.  Hezbollah has an arsenal of over 100,000 rockets – more than any other nation except the US and Russia.  Of course, the situation is further complicated by the role of Russia that now has substantial interests in Syria and is allied with Iran.    
 
I am not an alarmist, but the need for prayer is crucial:  
  • Pray for peace in Syria and that the situation does not bring further instability to the region (with Iranian presence there)
  • Pray that Iran will move its forces out of Syria
  • Pray that millions of Syrian refugees will be able to return to their homes soon
  • Pray that more and more Iranians will come to know Jesus as Messiah
  • Pray for wisdom for the US president as he makes a decision about moving the US Embassy
  • Pray for the security of Israel and the peace of Jerusalem
We also ask for your prayers for our upcoming Open House on Christmas Eve.  
 
Thank you for your prayers, and many blessings for a joyous Christmas and Hanukkah.
 
Shalom,
 
David Pileggi
Christ Church Jerusalem 

Israel Under Fire At Brighton

CMJ UK Correspondent reports here on a recent gathering of the Labour Party of England, led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn for the last two years.  To many young people in England, 68-year-old Corbyn is venerated like a rock star. While the Labour Party was focused on the issue of England leaving the European Union under what came to be called “Brexit” – another topic came to the fore at the conference: Anti-Semitism. One Labour faction suggested that the Jewish groups within Labour be expelled! This movement is a harbinger of growing anti-Semitism across Europe. It should be a matter of prayer for us all. Here is Charles’ report:
 

Anti-Semitic ‘bullets’ fly at annual Labour Party gathering

By Charles Gardner
 
On the day we heard news of the killing of three Israelis by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank, the UK media was also reporting on anti-Semitic ‘bullets’ being fired at the annual conference of Her Majesty’s official Opposition.
 
Anti-Israel sentiment has been simmering in Britain’s Labour Party ever since Hard-Leftist Jeremy Corbyn took over as leader two years ago.  
 
[Right: Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party at Chatham House, 12 May 2017. Image: Chatham House/Wikimedia]
 
He had earlier promised to deal with it, but little if anything has been done and things got out of hand in Brighton, an otherwise gentle seaside resort designed for rest and refreshment.
 
Amid reports of intimidation of a leading BBC correspondent, activists applauded panellists at a fringe meeting who likened supporters of Israel to Nazis. Delegates even demanded expulsion from the party of the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel – one speaker suggested Labour should be free to debate whether the Holocaust had happened! [1]
 
Clearly, anti-Semitism is still a big problem in Mr Corbyn’s party more than a year after he pledged to get to grips with the issue. Even the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, John Cryer, said he had tweets from party members which made his hair stand on end and were “redolent of the 1930s.” [2]
 
So what has happened?
 
All the more shocking is the fact that, until recently, Labour has been the ‘natural’ party for Britain’s 290,000 Jews – but no longer. Well, it was also once the natural party for Methodists and other non-conformist Christians who had emerged from the awakening of biblical truths following the Reformation sparked by Martin Luther 500 years ago.
 
After all, Labour was founded on the Christian ethics of men like Keir Hardie who were keen to translate the good neighbourliness and social justice taught by the gospel into the lives of ordinary working people. Indeed, members still pride themselves on being ‘caring’ individuals, which is one reason, no doubt, why minorities such as the Jewish community felt at home among them. But in reality, the heart and passion of their message has been lost in socialist dogma and ideology, far removed from the freedom from such ‘slavery’ expressed in the Bible.
 
Put simply, God has been thrown out of the party window. At the same conference two years ago, Mr Corbyn said he wanted a ‘kinder politics’ [3], but instead we have a bunch of bully-boys.
 
Labour’s Origins
 
Born into the caring world of Christianity, Labour has brought much good to society – most notably through the National Health Service which became the envy of the world – but have made the disastrous mistake of devouring the hand that has fed them (ideologically speaking). Worst of all, they have turned on the nation that brought God to the world, specifically through the Bible and the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ!
 
Testimonies from Syrians praising Israeli help
 
And in berating Zionists as Nazis, they are ridiculously misinformed. For example, Israeli search-and-rescue teams are helping island communities shattered by the recent hurricanes, and their medics are tending to the wounds of those caught up in the Syrian civil war. In fact, dozens of Syrian civilians have written letters of gratitude to Israel and its defence forces. One 27-year-old Syrian woman wrote: “We thought that Israel was our enemy, but we realized that it’s good to us. I want to thank the hospitals in Israel and the Israeli army for all its help to the…Syrian children.”
 
A 30-year-old married man wrote: “After seven years of revolution in which we have lost lives and blood, there was nowhere for the wounded Syrians to go and receive treatment. I am grateful to the State of Israel for the help it provided to all the wounded people of Syria.” [4]
 
Was this how Nazis behaved in World War II?
 
Meanwhile Back in England
 
Conservative MP Andrew Percy, who has also been a target of anti-Semitism, said of the shenanigans in Brighton: “What we are seeing is really dangerous. There is a cult of personality around Jeremy Corbyn that will not allow any questioning of him or his views. It is deeply sinister, nasty and quite frightening.” [5] Another Tory MP, Sheryll Murray, had swastikas daubed on her General Election posters earlier this year.
 
These are the antics that remind us of Nazism, not the perfectly reasonable aspirations of Zionists seeking to secure the world’s only refuge for the Jewish people.
 
What we are seeing, in fact, is a somewhat confusing ideological alliance between the socialist-orientated Hard Left and the anti-Semitic rhetoric of the far-right Islamists. Whatever you call this mishmash of dogmas, they reflect long discredited old-style totalitarian regimes in which no other view is tolerated outside of what is judged to be politically correct.
 
This lack of tolerance is becoming endemic on our university campuses and is extremely worrying for the future of our democracy, with a vast swathe of young people very nearly sending Jeremy Corbyn – ‘friend’ of Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah – to No 10 Downing Street.
 
Is this the kind of Orwellian police state the Millennials really want? 
 
The God-haters are on the march; they’ve already dismantled the banners of truth and justice that launched the Labour movement, and decent people across the country sit idly by letting it all happen.
 
Journalists have joked about the way in which much of our youth have heaped Messiah-like status on Jeremy Corbyn, and even remarked on the fact he has the same initials as Jesus Christ. The trouble is that it’s not funny.
 
It’s so obvious that we need to restore the place of God in our society. Have we not learnt any lessons from the disastrous experiments of China, the Soviet Union, Venezuela and North Korea? Apparently not, because – in the very English, gentrified surroundings of Brighton, a very different UK is assembling before our very eyes.
 
God help us! And I mean, only God can help us!
 
Notes
1 Daily Mail, 26 September 2017.
2 Ibid.
3 He had urged delegates: “Cut out the personal abuse, cut out the cyber-bullying and especially the misogynistic abuse online and let’s get on with bringing real values back into politics.” BBC News, 29 September 2015.
4 Bridges for Peace, 15 September 2017.
5 Daily Mail, 26 September 2017.
 

From Across the Pond - October 2017

CMJ UK Correspondent reports here on a recent gathering of the Labour Party of England, led by socialist Jeremy Corbyn for the last two years.  To many young people in England, 68-year-old Corbyn is venerated like a rock star. While the Labour Party was focused on the issue of England leaving the European Union under what came to be called “Brexit” – another topic came to the fore at the conference: Anti-Semitism. One Labour faction suggested that the Jewish groups within Labour be expelled! This movement is a harbinger of growing anti-Semitism across Europe. It should be a matter of prayer for us all. Here is Charles’ report:
 
 

Israel under fire at UK conference

Anti-Semitic ‘bullets’ fly at annual Labour Party gathering

By Charles Gardner
 
On the day we heard news of the killing of three Israelis by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank, the UK media was also reporting on anti-Semitic ‘bullets’ being fired at the annual conference of Her Majesty’s official Opposition.
 
Anti-Israel sentiment has been simmering in Britain’s Labour Party ever since Hard-Leftist Jeremy Corbyn took over as leader two years ago.  
 
[Right: Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party at Chatham House, 12 May 2017. Image: Chatham House/Wikimedia]
 
He had earlier promised to deal with it, but little if anything has been done and things got out of hand in Brighton, an otherwise gentle seaside resort designed for rest and refreshment.
 
Amid reports of intimidation of a leading BBC correspondent, activists applauded panellists at a fringe meeting who likened supporters of Israel to Nazis. Delegates even demanded expulsion from the party of the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel – one speaker suggested Labour should be free to debate whether the Holocaust had happened! [1]
 
Clearly, anti-Semitism is still a big problem in Mr Corbyn’s party more than a year after he pledged to get to grips with the issue. Even the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, John Cryer, said he had tweets from party members which made his hair stand on end and were “redolent of the 1930s.” [2]
 
So what has happened?
 
All the more shocking is the fact that, until recently, Labour has been the ‘natural’ party for Britain’s 290,000 Jews – but no longer. Well, it was also once the natural party for Methodists and other non-conformist Christians who had emerged from the awakening of biblical truths following the Reformation sparked by Martin Luther 500 years ago.
 
 

100 Years Ago in Jerusalem (1917), August 2017

--Theresa Newell, 23 Aug 2017
 
Allenby reviews his troopsOne hundred years ago this Fall, the world changed – especially the map of the Middle East. Because the Ottoman Empire headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, aligned itself with Germany in World War I, the entire area was up for grabs by the Allied Forced as Germany surrendered. England, France and Russia all vied for sections of the old Empire. At the same time an internal battle among the adherents of Islam–-Arab and Turks–-was raging and rife with intrigue, spies and plots. In the midst of promises made and political power plays, General Sir Edmund Allenby marched into Jerusalem and received the surrender of the Ottomans. Thus, 1917 was the year that changed the world-–a world which continues to demand our attention and prayer.
 

General Edmund Allenby Takes Jerusalem 1917

On December 11, 1917 General Edmund Allenby, Field Marshal of the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), walked through the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem declaring victory over the Ottoman Empire by England and its allies. The event took place just in front of the entrance to the compound of CMJ's Christ Church, which had stood since the 1840s as the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East. It was the first day of Chanukah 1917, celebrating the liberation of Jerusalem by the Maccabees in 163 BC!
 
Chanukah with Judah Maccabee and General Allenby in JerusalemIt was the most historic of moments. With him were soldiers of the honor guard composed of English, Welsh, Scottish, Indian, Australian and New Zealand troops, with twenty soldiers each from Italy and France continuing the line inside the gate. East met West in a way that changed history and set the stage for the formation 31 years later of the State of Israel.
 
The Balfour Declaration had been signed in London on October 31, 1917 calling for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. On that same day General Allenby's legion captured the city of Beersheba. This battle opened the way for the British force to move toward Jerusalem by early December.[1] While the Balfour Declaration was a great political coup for the Jewish aspirations for a homeland, it was not until Allenby's military victory that it was possible for the Declaration's intent to be set in motion. 
 
For over 400 years the territory of the future home for the Jews had been under Ottoman Turkish rule! While Jerusalem was a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, access to the area had been not only greatly restricted while under Ottoman rule but had become an undesirable place to live - subject to disease and poverty.
 
This year as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, we also focus on the importance of Allenby's triumphant military campaign. His entrance was the first time Jerusalem had been liberated from Muslim rule since the Crusader period ended in AD 1291.
 
 
 
 

100 Years Ago in Jerusalem (1917)

--Theresa Newell, 23 Aug 2017
 
Allenby reviews his troopsOne hundred years ago this Fall, the world changed – especially the map of the Middle East. Because the Ottoman Empire headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, aligned itself with Germany in World War I, the entire area was up for grabs by the Allied Forced as Germany surrendered. England, France and Russia all vied for sections of the old Empire. At the same time an internal battle among the adherents of Islam–-Arab and Turks–-was raging and rife with intrigue, spies and plots. In the midst of promises made and political power plays, General Sir Edmund Allenby marched into Jerusalem and received the surrender of the Ottomans. Thus, 1917 was the year that changed the world-–a world which continues to demand our attention and prayer.
 

General Edmund Allenby Takes Jerusalem 1917

On December 11, 1917 General Edmund Allenby, Field Marshal of the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), walked through the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem declaring victory over the Ottoman Empire by England and its allies. The event took place just in front of the entrance to the compound of CMJ's Christ Church, which had stood since the 1840s as the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East. It was the first day of Chanukah 1917, celebrating the liberation of Jerusalem by the Maccabees in 163 BC!
 
Chanukah with Judah Maccabee and General Allenby in JerusalemIt was the most historic of moments. With him were soldiers of the honor guard composed of English, Welsh, Scottish, Indian, Australian and New Zealand troops, with twenty soldiers each from Italy and France continuing the line inside the gate. East met West in a way that changed history and set the stage for the formation 31 years later of the State of Israel.
 
The Balfour Declaration had been signed in London on October 31, 1917 calling for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. On that same day General Allenby's legion captured the city of Beersheba. This battle opened the way for the British force to move toward Jerusalem by early December.[1] While the Balfour Declaration was a great political coup for the Jewish aspirations for a homeland, it was not until Allenby's military victory that it was possible for the Declaration's intent to be set in motion. 
 
For over 400 years the territory of the future home for the Jews had been under Ottoman Turkish rule! While Jerusalem was a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, access to the area had been not only greatly restricted while under Ottoman rule but had become an undesirable place to live - subject to disease and poverty.
 
This year as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, we also focus on the importance of Allenby's triumphant military campaign. His entrance was the first time Jerusalem had been liberated from Muslim rule since the Crusader period ended in AD 1291.
 
 

Who was Allenby?

General Sir Edmund Allenby, Kcb Art, Wikimedia The men under his command nicknamed him "Bloody Bull," but Allenby did not start out wanting to be in the military. Born in Nottinghamshire in England on April 23, 1861, Allenby failed the exam for India civil service, but passed the one to enter Sandhurst Military Academy. He fought in the Second Boer War in South Africa in 1900 and then in World War I -- first on the Western Front in France and later in the Middle East, where he took command in June 1917. Prime Minister David Lloyd George told Allenby that his objective was to take "Jerusalem before Christmas." 
 
Twice Allenby's predecessor had failed in the attempt to capture Gaza, giving access to the route to Jerusalem. Under Allenby, known as one of the greatest mounted cavalry officers of England, the EEF was reorganized and not only took Gaza, but stormed Beersheba, which opened the door to Jerusalem's capture. The element of surprise showed Allenby's skill as a strategist as his British, Australian and New Zealanders attacked from three sides -- a military feat that had never happened before in the taking of Beersheba.
 
He was created 1st Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and of Felixstowe in October 1919 and served as High Commissioner of Egypt from 1919 to 1925. 
 
Allenby dismounting at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem (1917)In its official response to the restoration of Jerusalem and the British declaration of a Jewish homeland in Israel, CMJ asked: "What does all this mean for us Christians? In the light of prophetic Scripture we recognise that such an action on the part of our Government and on the part of the Allied Powers, in being united in their resolve to reinstate the Jew in his own land, is full of significance. Our Lord, when asked the question, 'What shall be the signs of Thy coming and of the end of the age?' gave one of the signs, in Luke 21:24, to be that 'Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles (nations) until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' Ever since A.D. 70 Jerusalem and Palestine have been under Gentile domination, and now we seem to be on the very verge of a literal fulfillment of the last prediction. . . ."[2]
______________
1 For details of this historic battle, read Anzacs, Empires and Israel's Restoration (1798-1948) by Kelvin Crombie.
2 Crombie, p 203.
 
 Images: 
1. Gen Allenby reviewing his troops in front of David’s Citadel opposite Christ Church, Jerusalem.
2. Chanukah with Judah Maccabee and General Allenby in Jerusalem. Illustrated by M.M. Harris, San Francisco. Published by A.B. Schayer, Cincinnati, Ohio: 1918.
3. Gen. Sir Edmund Allenby, painting by Philip Tennyson Cole [Wikimedia].
4. Gen. Allenby dismounting in front of Jaffa gate in order to walk in, showing respect for the holy places of Jerusalem.